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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Quick and Easy Start: Pastel Painting Demo

'Simple Beauty'                 5x7              pastel                  ©Karen Margulis
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I needed to do a quick painting. I was testing a new technique. More on this tomorrow. I am in the middle of packing supplies for two workshops. I didn't really have time for a larger more involved painting. So I turned to one of my favorite ways to start a pastel painting. It is quick and it is easy. Enjoy the demo photos and commentary!

I begin on a piece of toned Uart paper 500 grit. I am working small, 5x7.  I do a quick sketch with a piece of dark blue Nupastel.

Normally I take a few minutes to choose my palette. This time I decided to use a tray of pastels that I had used for a larger painting last week. I had not yet put them away and they looked like they would work for my subject.

I begin by blocking in all of the dark shapes with a dark blue Nupastel #305

Next, I block in all of the light shapes. In this case that would be the sky. I use a pale peach.

Next I block in the area of the most intense color. This would be the bright section f golden marsh grass.

The next step is to fill in the rest of the paper with a medium value color. I chose a burnt orange to give some warmth to my Autumn marsh.

At this point I have blocked in the entire painting with the extremes. I know what will be dark, light , middle value and intense color. I develop the tree first with some cool greens in the shadows and warm greens in the sunlit side.

Next I develop the sky with a few light pastels....I use blues and peaches and creams. It is hard to see in this photo. I use the cream to make a few sky holes in the tree.

I decide to spray the foreground with some workable fixative so I can get a little texture. I want to suggest the scrub grasses and bushes with just a few strokes. Now it is really dark!

In this photo you can see where I am placing some lighter greens and peaches over the darkened foreground. I added some layers to the distant golden grasses including reinforcing the intense gold of the underpainting. I also add light to the tree with some warm yellow greens and oranges.

As usual I forget to take a photo as I am finishing the foreground. It was just a matter of adding a few grasses and some marks to indicate blooming weeds. I thought I was finished so I signed the painting. I put it in a frame to evaluate it and felt that the tree holes were to regular and the foreground needed a few more spices. I put it back on the easel for those final marks and then I was done!


Jo Castillo said...

Love seeing how you work. Thanks for sharing.

Jan Partain said...

Karen, thanks so much for easy to follow demos. I am new to pastels and have a quick question about cutting paper size. Do you cut it exactly 5x7 or leave a little extra for framing? Thanks. Jan

robertsloan2art said...

Great demo! Loved the way this went so fast and how beautifully detailed it is. Such a sense of depth and space in a very small format. Great textures in the foreground and the tree!

Cool to use the same palette again before putting the pastels away. That really worked!

Tracy said...

Hello Karen!
I am learning so much from your demos, which are you so generous to share! I love your video demos too.
Thankyou, Tracy